State-owned China National Chemical Corp., also known as ChemChina, on Wednesday announced a $43 billion offer to take over Swiss pesticide giant Syngenta (LSE: 0QOP.L - news) , in what would be by far the biggest overseas acquisition by a Chinese firm.
What is ChemChina?
ChemChina is the country's biggest chemical firm and is among more than a hundred state-owned enterprises which report directly to the central government. Fortune magazine ranked it as number 265 on its list of "Global 500" companies for 2015.
What is its business?
Created out of assets under the former ministry of chemical industry in 2004, the company has grown to include speciality chemicals, oil refining, agricultural chemicals, tyre and rubber products and chemical processing equipment.
According to the most recent figures on its website, it had assets of 272.5 billion yuan ($41 billion) and annual revenue of 244 billion yuan ($37 billion) in 2013.
Chairman Ren Jianxin is credited with building the company through an aggressive string of foreign investments.
What are its recent overseas deals?
In January, ChemChina bought a 12 percent stake in Swiss energy and commodities trader Mercuria to expand its portfolio in the sectors. The Chinese government has encouraged its companies to invest abroad to secure raw materials.
Also in January, the Chinese company said it planned to buy Germany's KraussMaffei Group, which makes machinery for producing plastics and rubber, for 925 million euros ($1.01 billion).
And in 2015, it announced the take over of Italian tyre maker Pirelli, renowned for its Formula One equipment and racy calendars, in a deal valued at 7.4 billion euros.
Who is Ren Jianxin?
Ren, 58, has been chairman of ChemChina since 2014, but he has been with the company in various executive positions since its formation. A native of the northwestern province of Gansu, he has an advanced degree in economics.
In the 1980s, shortly after China launched economic reforms, he and seven others started a cleaning company called BlueStar, which washed boilers and tea urns. BlueStar grew through mergers and acquisitions, before joining with companies under the chemical ministry.
A glowing portrait in the state-run China Daily newspaper described him as "the undisputed king of mergers and acquisitions" in the chemical industry.